If you haven’t ever tried walking your cat, you might be surprised by how much this practice can improve your cat’s health, as well as deepen the bond between you. Here are some important tips to help you get started.
Don’t Expect It to Be Like Walking a Dog
Cats are very different from dogs, and as such, they’ll often behave differently when out on a walk. A cat might not be as consistently eager to walk on a leash, might get distracted by different things, and could even become much more aggressive than a dog. Be prepared for this, and have lots of patience.
Start Out with a Vest Harness
When you first start walking your cat, it’s a good idea to begin with a harness attached to a leash – vest harnesses are best. This will keep your cat safely restrained as they learn how to navigate walking, and a vest harness isn’t as easy to escape from.
Try having your cat wear their harness for short periods of time indoors, without a leash, just to get them accustomed to wearing it. Don’t leave it on for too long – just a few minutes to begin with, and then increase the time they wear it as their comfort level increases. Once they’ve gotten used to the harness, try attaching a leash and walking them around the room a few times so they can become accustomed to the leash in a familiar, safe space.
Take It Slowly
The first few walks might be challenging for your cat, as they get used to wearing a harness and being guided on a leash. The best thing to do is to let them explore as freely as possible – in other words, let them lead the way so they associate the leash with positive experiences.
It’s important to be prepared while out for a cat walk. Consider bringing pet waste bags in case Kitty decides to leave a mess on the sidewalk. Bring treats so you can positively reinforce them during your walk. And you might want to bring a crate on those first few walks in case your cat becomes frightened or agitated and you need a safe way to transport them home.
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